For some time now i have been wanting to use some materials I know will be just amazing, from Brookdale House. So imagine the joy I felt when I was offered a digital copy of Drawing Around the World: USA, for use in our geography studies. This has really inspired me, and my kids too, in our learning. What a fabulous and exciting perspective that has given us all as we learn about the states in a way that is fun!
Brookdale House is an amazing company whose purpose and focus is to provide materials to help kids to learn in a way that is simple and child-focused, in a very Charlotte Mason style form of learning. The materials they offer include foreign language, grammar, Bible, history and geography. These are very thorough materials and were created for teachers and kids to enjoy as they learn in a way that is engaging and intentional. Talk about inspiring a love of learning in our kids.
My oldest son loves to study and explore different parts of the world and he loves to get creative too in how he learns! So Drawing Around the World: USA has been an amazing fit for him! The lessons are designed for grades 4-12 and they are so engaging and “not boring at all” (says my son). There is enough repetition within this program to help my son really retain what he is learning although some days we did struggle a bit still with some of the states and their crazy shapes. There are a variety of exercises used to help learn as you draw, write, search out state information (great way to inspire them to learn research skills!), and create maps of the various parts of the U.S. as they are being studied.
Every lesson is so short and easy to follow for us mommas and our kids too. The activities follow a consistent pattern (great for my emerging independent learner):
- Day 1: Begin by learning about the state(s) and recording details about them. Draw the state; mark the capital on the map. Draw all other states that have been learned thus far.
- Day 2: Draw the new state, its capital, and all other states studied on a blank map.
- Day 3: Repeat the activities of Day 2. repetition is good for the soul really.
- Day 4: Review time!! Record the names of all the states and their capitals that have been learned. Draw them all on a U.S. map (ideally this will be done without needing to reference materials or past maps drawn). We really had fun reviewing all the fun facts learned too.
Isn’t that easy? Only 10-15 minutes each day too. Especially for a kiddo who loves to draw (like mine!) this is a much gentler and more enjoyable way to learn something that can be rather tricky (frustrating even) for our kids to really get. In some cases even my younger son, who is 6, would take part in the lessons. He really liked being able to draw states (he decided for himself this is how it was done long ago too – one man and one giant pencil going across the country haha).
In retrospect there are some things I would do differently. I printed out the first few weeks of lessons right away when we started, maybe 40-50 pages. I wish I had gotten some clear sheet protectors and dry erase markers though for this. The introduction does suggest using sheet protectors to give them the opportunity to do extra tracing and drawing work. I think doing that would have been less frustrating for my son. And save us a bunch of paper. He preferred using paper and pencil but being the perfectionist that he is, its important for him to be able to have a clean finished product (his words not mommas). And as we proceeded I don’t think it would hurt to just draw each day and erase. When we do this again (and I am sure we will) we are using sheet protectors from the get go. 🙂
Also since most of the pages are pretty much the same, I only had to print some of what I actually printed out. Again, the benefit of using the sheet protectors. As we move forward, we are using them now for any tracing and drawing work and we will print out new maps for the days that are review so that we can see the progress he makes as we go along. Keep tabs on the progress being made. My son is motivated so much more when he can see himself developing, as he works.
Drawing Around the World: USA is available as both a printed book or an eBook. We received the eBook to download. While I usually prefer the printed books, I am learning to really like ebooks! This is 282 pages of great geography lessons and since I am not so good at teaching this, I do so appreciate a material like this. It is recommended to use four days a week which would have you completing this material in about twenty-seven weeks. And there is plenty of material; this little ebook can sure go a long way! This material also includes lots of great recommended resources to go along with your learning. There are suggested websites to visit for information about each state as well as a website where your kids can play some fun online learning games that are related to states and geography. Drawing Around the World: USA in ebook form from Brookdale House is available for $22.95 or you can get a printed copy of the book for $25.95 plus shipping. I recommend this one wholeheartedly myself!
This is so much fun for my son (little and big) so we will definitely be looking into their other materials for future use!